Archive | March, 2013

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StockFreeImages – Stock Imagery Provider

Posted on 10 March 2013 by admin

StockFreeImages is a great free option for sourcing images to use for both personal and business uses.  This stock imagery site actually has hundreds of thousands of photos available at absolutely no cost.  Often times Royalty Free sites are mistakenly identified as free sites which is not a correct interpretation of the word “royalty free” (see this article for more information on royalty free images), but in the case of the StockFreeImages website, Royalty Free does translate to FREE to the end users.

The images at StockFreeImages can be used, modified, and edited to use on websites, advertisements, brochures, PowerPoint presentations, books, CD covers, computer applications, etc., and the rights you are given extend worldwide for an unlimited number of digital uses and products.  However, the license for printed use is 10,000 copies.  So, be smart on when and where you decide to use images from this site.

StockFreeImages screenshotQuick Details

Selection: Large
Quality: Medium
Pricing: Free (with credit & backlink)
File Formats: .jpg
Stock Image Type: RF

Contact Info

URL:http://www.stockfreeimages.com/
No contact information given except for an online form.

 

While the price at StockFreeImages is right for most frugal business owners, there is a catch.  When you use an image from StockFreeImages, you must provide author attribution and a link back to the site (when and where possible).  Depending on where you need photos and what your philosophy is for marketing, this catch may be simple to cope with and no problem to implement.  Plus, StockFreeImages does make it easy enough for you to include the appropriate credit where credit is due, by providing you with a cut and paste option with all of the pertinent details when you opt to download an image.  Here is an example of the notice:Stock Free Images credit warning and message

Another point worth mentioning is that you are not given options for file size and file format when you decide to download an image.  You are simply given one file, and most of the images are delivered in .jpg format.

My biggest problem with the StockFreeImages site is with the search result page.  Once you search for a keyword, you are presented with the search results page which as expected displays relevant photos.  The issue is that the very top line of the page lists photos and links to images found on Dreamstime (which is the parent company of StockFreeImages), and Dreamstime is a pay site.  So, basically if you do not pay close attention to where you are clicking or know how to discern the “Royalty Free Stock Images from Dreamstime” (pay site photos) from the “Free Images” (free site photos), then you can easily end up clicking on a link that will take you to a page where you must pay to download the photo you’ve selected.  Clearly they set the site up this way on purpose – to drive traffic and revenue to their pay site.  While I am not against driving traffic to your site or even the notion of making money by selling images, I am put off by unclear links that are obviously trying to trick the end users into visiting a site they are not actively engaging.

StockFreeImages is present on the popular social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  They seem to post links to new images and libraries every week or so, but no real discussions or interactive content is shared by the website.  The accounts they maintain across these platforms are relatively active and up-to-date; however, the content does not vary from platform to platform.  In fact, the content is exactly the same.  So, don’t bother connecting with them across all platforms.  It’s just not necessary.

All in all, it is easy to sign up for a StockFreeImages account, and it is easy to source a variety of images through their offering.  For bloggers and businesses looking for a quick, cheap solution for imagery on digital media, it really doesn’t get any less expensive or easy than StockFreeImages.  Just be sure to give credit to the author and steer clear of those “trick” links lest you could end up paying for your free selection.

Our Search Testing Results:

Our search for business returned 48,081 results
The relevance of those results was extremely good with every option in the first 5 pages of results being what I would expect when searching for an image pertaining to the keyword “business”.

Our search for business woman returned 11,849 results
Again, the relevance of the results was extremely good all images on the first 5 pages being exactly what I would expect when searching for an image pertaining to the keyword “business woman”. Most of the results were a bit posed or unnatural instead of images of a business woman in action or within a particular environment.  Nevertheless, the results were on target and did show appropriate results.

Our search for meeting returned 3,230 results
The relevance of the results was very good with about 9 out of every 10 images being what I would expect when searching for a photo pertaining to the keyword “meeting”. The results had a good mix of meeting related images including groups of people in meetings, meeting rooms and facilities, and graphics used to represent meetings.

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Sony Pictures Stock Footage – Stock Imagery Provider

Posted on 09 March 2013 by admin

While the Sony Pictures Stock Footage web site does allow you to browse and preview their collection of stock video footage, it does not enable you to purchase the video clips online. To make a purchase you must either select the clips you want and then fill out contact information so they will get back in touch with you or give one of their representatives a call. This basically makes the web site only useful for customers that have already purchased clips or for future customers that are doing research prior to making their purchases.

Even though the web site is not designed for online transactions, it is still fun to look through clips of high impact explosions filmed for movie franchises like Spider-Man, breathtaking vistas shot for acclaimed films such as Memoirs of a Geisha and Seven Years in Tibet, and highly usable establishing shots from productions filmed around the globe.

sony-pictures-stock-footageQuick Details

Selection: Large
Quality: High
Pricing: Medium – High
File Formats: multiple video formats
Stock Image Type: RM, RF

Contact Info

URL: https://www.sonypicturesstock
footage.com/

Address:
10202 West Washington Boulevard
Culver City, California 90232
Toll Free: 866-275-6919
Phone: 310-244-3704
Email: stockfootage@spe.sony.com

At the Sony Pictures Stock Footage web site, you can search by categories, keyword, rights managed or royalty free, and a number of other attributes. When I searched for specific topics, I was surprised at how many results were avaialble considering the results are all videos, not a combination of imagery types. Like most sites, the amount of matches were limited depending on how specific the search keywords were. For a search using the keyword “beach”, my search pulled up 3,187 matching results whereas a search using the keyword “kansas city” only pulled up 14 matching results.

There were no references to social media accounts that link to Sony Pictures Stock Footage on their web site, so I would assume that they do not have a presence in communities like facebook and Twitter.

Like some other high-end stock imagery providers, I believe that solutions from Sony Pictures Stock Footage are not options that every business would and could fit into their budget; however, Sony Pictures Stock Footage does offer outstanding video clips for those business that do need high-quality footage shot by professionals.

Our Search Testing Results:

Our search for business returned 922
The relevance of the results was average with about 5 out of every 10 videos matching what I would expect when searching for a video pertaining to the keyword “business”. Most of the results contained footage that included businesses and buildings in the background, but not actual footage inside or targeted on a business.

Our search for business woman returned 19
The relevance of the results was low with about 2 out of every 10 images being exactly what I would expect when searching for a video pertaining to the keyword “business woman”. Most of the results had a business woman walking by in the background or a portion of her body (like hands operating a cash register).

Our search for meeting returned 64
The relevance of the results was low with about 1 out of every 10 images were what I would want when searching for a photo pertaining to the keyword “meeting”. While the results did have people gathering in meeting-like scenarios, the majority of the meetings definitely did not have what I expected in terms of office/business types of meetings.

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Robert Harding World Imagery

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Robert Harding World Imagery – Stock Imagery Provider

Posted on 08 March 2013 by admin

Searching the Robert Harding World Imagery database of pics and videos always yields beautiful results. All of the still results are photographs – not illustrations, sketches, vector images, etc. Plus, all of the photos have high-def options. The standard image resolution is 300dpi at an A3 size (that’s 16.5 x 11.7 inches for us Americans). Some of the photos are offered with rights-managed licenses and others are available as royalty free images. Robert Harding World Imagery also has short video clips that you can purchase for a wide range of business purposes.

Almost all of the photos are travel related which makes Robert Harding World Imagery a great provider for pictures of places, people, landscapes, plants, animals, modes of transportation, and artifacts.

Robert Harding World ImageryQuick Details

Selection: Large
Quality: High
Pricing: Medium – High
File Formats: .jpg
Stock Image Type: RM, RF

Contact Info

URL: http://www.robertharding.com/
Address:
Berkshire House
Queen Street
Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1NF
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7478 4000
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7478 4161
Email: info@robertharding.com

At the Robert Harding World Imagery web site, you can search by gallery, keyword, stills or video, rights managed or royalty free, size, or by release status. When I searched for specific photos, it was relatively easy to locate the right gallery and keyword, and relevant photos were also easily found. However, the amount of matching photos were limited depending on how specific your keywords are. For a search using the keyword “beach”, my search pulled up 60,000+ matching results whereas a search using the keyword “kansas city” only pulled up 117 matching results. Even though 117 results seemed like a small amount, I was impressed with the accuracy, quality, and uniqueness of the photos in the result group.

Another fun feature on the Robert Harding World Imagery site is the ability to send an ecard to your friends and family using their beautiful pictures. And, this ecard service is FREE to use! Here is a snapshot of a quick message I typed up for my friend using one of the penguin pictures on the site:

On social media, Robert Harding World Imagery has a Facebook page and a Twitter account where they post updates about new photo galleries and additions to their website.

Robert Harding also operates a complementary website called World In Print where you can purchase products like prints, coffee mugs, mouse pads, etc with your choice of select photographs found on the site.

I suspect that Robert Harding stock imagery is not feasible for all businesses to use because their photos are a bit more pricey than other stock imagery sites. For example, a photo for your website may cost you $100 and up, and there are some stock imagery sites where you can get a high-def photo for less than $10. But, Robert Harding World Imagery offers professional photos that are not available on any other web site. So, if you are looking for a beautiful option that is not replicated across all of the standard imagery websites, then options at this site may be the right for you.

Our Search Testing Results:

Our search for business returned 12125 images
The relevance of the results was high with about 8 out of every 10 images matching what I would expect when searching for a photo pertaining to the keyword “business”. The results had photos of all sorts of businesses, buildings, workers, and scenarios.

Our search for business woman returned 1274 images
The relevance of the results was high with about 9 out of every 10 images being exactly what I would expect when searching for a photo pertaining to the keyword “business woman”. Also, the results has a good variance of ethnicities, locations, types of businesses, and types of workers.

Our search for meeting returned 1199 images
The relevance of the results was low with about 1 out of every 10 images were what I would want when searching for a photo pertaining to the keyword “meeting”.

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PROJECT: Evaluate Stock Imagery Providers

Posted on 01 March 2013 by admin

Origin: During some recent client projects, we have determined the need for an in-depth evaluation of stock imagery providers, not only to determine who all the players are in this particular area of the market but to also evaluate the individual strengths and weaknesses of available the providers.  Many businesses have an on-going need for good quality stock imagery, and this is why I am declaring PROJECT: Evaluate Stock Imagery Providers as officially open.

Method: Each day Smart Service Strategies will evaluate at least one (1) stock imagery provider, create a blog entry with general details about the provider and results from niche searches, and create an accessible information sheet that includes:

  • Provider contact information
  • Pricing information
  • Imagery options
  • other significant details

Results:  Once we have exhausted our list of all possible stock imagery providers, Smart Service Strategies will post a project wrap-up and summary as well as several top lists including:

  • Top Royalty Free Imagery Providers
  • Top Rights-Managed Imagery Providers
  • Top Free Imagery Providers
  • Our Favorite Imagery Providers

We will also maintain a list of each of the providers we evaluate here on the project page along with links to the individual posts, so you can track our progress.

 

 

If you can not find the Stock Imagery provider you are interested on our listing above, then please contact us, and we will be happy to complete research for you on that particular provider.

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